Sunday, 9 November 2008

Lido makes the TV news

Not only is pool water heating up but media interest is too, with a local radio station and BBC radio 4 both calling in the same day. Also the BBC televised 6 o'clock news were interested and did a article on the Lido.

Have a look at the link below to view the broadcast...

Monday, 3 November 2008

Denis the Chemist

lotions and potions

Another research day with a difference, our treatment therapists took a trip to ila products HQ to meet Denis the chemist, the man behind the formulas of our ila products. Everything is natural and very, very spiritual, so much that the layout of the laboratory is all on purpose in conjunction with good vibes and karma. It was a great experience and valuable for the therapists who will be using the organic products.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Opening offer extended!!!

Did someone say offer...

Due to the popular demand of the opening offer below, we have decided to do a second week of discounted ila my time treatments. The price as of now will be £30, reduced from £50 and these treatments will take place during the second week of opening. As before if you're interested in snapping up this ila opportunity then simply email your name to and we will be in touch late October to arrange your spa experience for mid November. Hurry as we only have 30 to give...


Lovingly restored...

Over grown originals pre restoration...

The spectacular original poolside cubicles, all 13 including a wooden drum shower each, have been taken out, lovingly restored and now with great care and precision aligned back in place looking as grand as ever. The first coat of paint is on, just another, a simple roofing and the eye catching stripey curtains will complete the restored spectacular originals, a real Lido feature.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Opening offer

Slap it on...

Spiritual day indeed...

We've decided that to celebrate the opening of the Lido and in particular the addition of an urban Holistic spa to Bristol, that we would like to offer a great opening offer for our ila holistic spa. Which I can now vouch for as we actually went to product test ila last week. It was crucial that we were making the right product decision, so off to Grayshott Spa (amazing place, also ambassadors of ila) we went for one hour of absolute bliss. What has been a steep learning curve, testing all these products and treatments, mighty hard work indeed, resulted in the best spa experience ever. Without going into detail I can only say that it was Utopian and like nothing we had tried before, without doubt ila and their customised techniques are perfect for us. After the holistic experience we contently drove home and passed Stonehenge on the way, the most spiritual day I've had in a long time.

Any way you simply have to try one to know exactly how good it is, so to kick things off here's the offer:

Simply email to with your name/number and quoting 'ila holistic spa offer' and just before we open we will contact you and get you booked in for some ila my time, in the opening week, at a one off opening price of £20, normally £50. This is a ridiculous price, but for an opening offer the ila my time has to be done, believe me.

Walk like an Egypian...

The very striking front door architrave is not only bold and beautiful, but oddly Egyptian in style. Apparently this is not unique to the Lido, with other Victorian buildings around Britain also boasting Egyptian style influences, largely due to the great excitement, that was at the time, the discovering and exploring of the pyramids and tomes. Such is the door surround being such a feature that we have cast a mould and replicated it for the separate restaurant entrance on Southleigh Rd.

Wood burner

On view from the restaurant...

As used by River Cafe and Moro restaurant...

This is now in place and the rest of the kitchen can now follow suit. This sustainable, wood burning oven is a big tick on our desires wish list as it will lead the menu in the right direction from the off set, that is the freshest Mediterranean/ north African style ingredients cooked in a no fuss, simple dry hot heat from the wood burner. Lots of vegetables, fish, herbs and pulses quickly cooked as well as tasty breads and slow cooked meats.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Staff wanted...

It's getting to the time where we're starting to have a good look around for staff to make the place tick. At present the Spa manager and myself are the team and we've got some great experienced people already signed up with some great potentials lined up, people from everywhere that are keen to be involved. But we're always on the look out so if you would like to work at the Clifton Lido and you have the relevant experience then email a CV to or give us a call 07792 412665. there's a broad scope available, chefs, holistic therapists, receptionists, restaurant managers and waiting staff, duty managers, pool attendants etc.

Looking to open mid autumn, the Victorian Lido will certainly be a different and exciting place to work and we're still working on the staff perks, jacuzzi and holistic breaks sound good to me...

Monday, 21 July 2008

Products, products, products...

Welcome to the Lido...
This is amazing...

It's with regret that we have decided to say good bye to our provisional choice of product house, which really is a great shame. We met them at the excel Spa show in London and really we're seduced, not only by their product but also by the way that they ran their business with such a relaxed attitude with heaps of honesty and genuineness. (Which was definitely a welcome relief after seeing a lot of other product houses who were only interested in one thing, money.) But with every closed door another opens and we are now very happy to announce our confirmed product house, who after meeting with them are phenomenally impressive. Not only do they have a great range of products, most beautifully presented but, and what swung it for us, is the story and background behind their products. Check out their web site and do read about the background behind the goods, and a great team to boot.

After a trip to see the chemist and their very impressive set up I've got a few goodies left over to give away, email me with a thought on the Clifton Lido and the best one will receive a lovely pot of ila sumptuousness.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Subscriptions sales.

The Victorians certainly enjoyed a dip...the 1st floor window on the left is now a kitchen.

A good show of blind faith and confidence by the folk of Bristol who have already signed up to the subscription pool. With very limited yet to actually see it has been very encouraging that so many of you have not only expressed interest but also committed to buying one of the various types of memberships. Over a third of our allocated subscriptions have been snapped up so the pressure is really on. A regular comment has been that we're underselling ourselves at less than £40 per month (for swimming, steam, sauna, sundeck cafe lounge and jacuzzi) and quite a few have asked if the subscription fee is just an enrolling fee with monthly fees on top.. no, just it is what it is. A very positive sign for this ambitious project.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Non slip

You wouldn't believe how non slip the non slip tiles are. We tried them out, socks off in the pool doing our best to slip n slide and it wasn't that hard at all, in fact there seemed to be little or no difference between the non slip and standard tiles. This was a little concerning as we are to tile around the walk ways of the pool, so a solution was needed to prevent health and safety having a field day with their slip-ometers. I'm sure they have such a gadget. The coloured tiles are to be laid with grooved oak hardwood being laid on top, with gaps in between to allow the tiles to dramatically shine through, thus it will be 100% non slip and the effect of hard wood on tile should be another great feature. After all if you've just had a couple of glasses of the afore mentioned fresh and tasty chilled whites and then want to dip your toes in the bubble tub, you don't want to have to concentrate whilst walking over there. And anyway our Lido flip flops or your flip flops should also aid vertical continuity.

Fresh whites

A great meeting with our existing wine suppliers Great western wine, with the charismatic Patrick, who presented me with a potential wine list for the Lido. His brief was for a shortish wine list of say 15 whites, 15 reds, a few rose's and a splash of really nice Champagnes, all from up and coming and already acclaimed wine producers, with a boutique style to production just like GWW. He didn't disappoint with a proposal of lots of light and fresh, tasty wines from small producers mainly from Europe, including specialists in organic and bio-dynamic wines and a couple of big guns for special moments. Some slight refining of the list and sample tasting I'm sure will result in a very satisfying and stylish choice.

Monday, 16 June 2008


Scaffolding for tables is far more sightly...

A big thank you to all of our immediate neighbours who turned out last Friday for a sneak preview of the Lido. We sent out invites to come and help us eat and drink our way through a little spread and even more tasty, to see whats been happening right on their doorstep for the last few months. The sunshine held and the turnout was good with around 60-80 inquisitive guests arriving, all of which were genuinely lovely and most supportive of the Victorian redevelopment. It was great to face so many questions and feel the excitement that was buzzing, a very positive end to the week. One of the neighbours even has a splendid collection of vintage Victorian clothing, including evening and swim wear, that once finished the Lido would make a grand backdrop to for some snaps. Once again thanks again to all who popped in and as you can see not long now on resurrecting what is truly an exciting Bristolian landmark.

Thursday, 5 June 2008


The two massive filters that will cleanse the Lido pool were too big to be handled through any of the door openings of the Lido. Instead they were lifted over the roof tops and across narrow streets of Oakfield Place on the 12th May. All successfully in with no damage, good.

The pool is now cast and we are awaiting delivery of 22 tonnes of the most beautiful blue Italian ceramic tiles to finish the internal lining of the pool. Once these are on we will have a real sense of getting there. (see pic below)

On the 10th of June a team arrives to assemble the finest Valoriani wood burning bread oven shipped from Florence in Italy. These Valoriani ovens are world famous for producing the best bread, pizza and cooked small meats and fish. These oven are in use by the River Cafe', Jamie Oliver, Cafe Moro and many others, especially in central London. Apart from being a great oven, burning dry hardwood is very friendly to our atmosphere rather than the usual reliance of gas.

The scaffolding is now dismantled on the front of Oakfield Place and it is truly a swan from duckling transformation. The fresh paint really accentuates the original stonework of the door and window surrounds. It’s great to finally see the front aspect brought back to life.

The large sliding windows of the restaurant and poolside café now have the sturdy frames in place, a final glass size measurement has been taken and the order for the glass placed. The Spa has had its first coat of interior paint; rads, basins etc installed and is looking fine. We have even got a bit excited and been antique shopping to find suitable, sympathetic and complimentary to the style of the building furniture and fittings.

In the meantime, engineers are working on the unique solar powered air conditioning system for the restaurant which will be a first for Bristol if not Britain, it is a wonderful and wacky stroke of genius.. More news on that later..

Saturday, 10 May 2008


The pool now has its bones, the shape and infinity effect clearly visible. Waterproofing it next week will be followed by cosmetic application. Heritage pools guys have done a quick and good job.
Also next week we will be painting the exterior of the building which will then enable us to remove the scaffolding from outside, move it inside and erect by the side of the restaurant. Thus enabling the insertion of the completed large sliding window frames to the pool side lounge and restaurant. Then a costly final measurement for the windows can be taken and the windows made.
One little (or large) snag is getting the pool water filters into the building. It was possible a while ago when there was a large enough hole in the wall on Southley rd, but that has since been filled in and the other entrance, the front door, is to small. So the only way in for these large heavy filters is over the top. We've had to hire a crane to lift them in, so fingers crossed that will go smoothly.
In the mean time we've been on some more spa research, this time visiting 3 different English spas to have organised tours to investigate operational procedures, no wallowing in hydro pools this time unfortunately. Instead studying the importance of customer journey, building flow and staffing practices. A couple of really interesting demonstrations on computer systems! and tours of pool plant rooms which basically look like the inside of Apollo 13. Swimming trunk spinners, flip flops, communications, signage, hot tubs, steam and relaxation room vibe. It's great coming into the spa industry with no preconceptions as we are constantly finding that a fresh approach is far more beneficial than churning out what everyone else has already done. Visiting some older established spas have given a lead on more what not to do than to do and our spin on it all is quite different which is very exciting.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Aerial photos

Metal rod supports in the pool get a good blasting with cement...

The ground floor washrooms, kitchen with a view above, plant machinery above that and the new restaurant roof ready for 90 solar panel tubes...

The original doors and windows to the old Victorian tea room, restored and replaced and the new treatment room windows above in the restored roof...

Pool walls 3 quarters done...

High powered concrete hose..

These are about 10 days ago, however it's all changing every day. The interior of the spa build is almost there, rooms plastered, door frames in ready to take doors, second fix soon. The pool contractors are amazing and it's mind bending on how they are going to achieve a completely flat pool to achieve the infinity effect over the edge all round the pool, it has to be perfectly straight.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

More reserch...

It's the future...

negative compression chambers... er..humm

A spa convention in Excel arena London was the target, the mission to seek out all interesting aspects of the spa world. Arrived late due to heavy traffic on Pentonville road and realised that Bristol traffic was a lot more forgiving than in the metropolis, but traffic jams and cars in cities generally don't work. But this gave our tour guide, the font of all spa knowledge himself, who we were meeting there, the chance to get a good head start looking around the large glorified warehouse that is Excel. This was actually a blessing in disguise as 'the font' could go in and immediately sniff out all of the stands worth looking at and thus save loads of time (sat in traffic discussing brand ethos and then onto slogans and then realising we don't want one). Once inside it was clear that the world of spas at the current moment in time evolves around three things.. spray on tanning, lotions and potions and electric therapy beds. What we came to sniff out was a product range that would suit us, look great, be of great quality, all in a workable reasonable package. They were all there, Clarins, Elemis, Creme de la mere, various Parisian beauty agents, it was alot to take in, but the font was knowledgeable as ever and sliced through all the hard sell and asked all the right questions. After being given the spiel by several major producers and laden with more face creams and body butter than we could carry (amazing how generous they were after finding out we're to open a spa), we consulted on the product houses we had seen so far, only one of which stood out by a mile and we all liked very much. A further meeting has been arranged at their HQ to meet the MD and learn more about their product called..... we'll let you know after the meeting, see how it goes.

The day was finished off back in familiar territory, a restaurant. A quick bit of tapas at acclaimed Moro restaurant, the food fantastic. Moro has been a large inspiration for the Lido restaurant and in its direction so this was a treat.

Pool skeleton

Once the concrete had been poured in to level out the bottom and support the sides , the pool specialists can move on. Steel supporting grids are affixed into position and wooden sides that are higher than the surrounding ground are constructed. This gives a visual impression of the 'infinity pool' effect for the first time.

Large planter boxes have been made and fixed to the west and north walls and bamboo and other shooting plants are being inserted, this will give total privacy to the Lido. They will be watered by rain water collected from the slanting roofs of the outdoor changing cubicles.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...

Victorian blue

Restored tea room windows with the beginings of the pool view balcony


The old and new woodwork

As well as all the new features going into the Lido there will be as much retention of old materials as possible, recycling where ever possible. Some of the building is so old and in such a poor state that it has to be replaced with new parts. Due to the grade 2 nature features and new materials have to be sympathetic to the original, which is great as far as were concerned, preserving and enhancing this old lido really is special. Of the 5 supporting beams that hold and make the face of the pool side lounge and restaurant, 2 have had to be replaced, above pic, and the old floor joists replaced for safety. The originals have had rotten ends sawn off and will be lovingly restored and used as chunky balustrades for the stairs from lounge to restaurant.
Drawing on experience from fitting and furnishing the Glass Boat, local reclaiming is the order or the day. The Glass Boat when it was built in 85-86 did exactly that and made good of various used and unwanted local materials, most of the boat's fittings reflect Bristol's heritage - from the original marble worktops from St Nicholas fish market, to the polished walnut and maple floor. The solid Burma teak doors originate from the old Royal Hotel, and other architectural features come from local buildings including a former police station, flourmills in Avonmouth and the Western Daily Press offices in Silver Street. Some of the portholes even come from a cross channel ferry. The Lido is successfully learning from her elder sister and has so far claimed the original wooden stair case form the currently redeveloped Bristol and West building on the center along with some beautiful old chunky wooden doors, which we have decided will polish up nicely for the private changing room doors. (2nd above). The stairs will be put to good use again leading diners to the pool view restaurant.

The original colour of the Lido form the Victorian days was a sky blue which can still be seen on some of the inside features, where possible this will be brought back to life.
So with all the right ingredients it's only right that we shall be submitting the venue to be approved as a venue for civil ceremonies.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Outdoor pools in winter?

Ok.. look normal..

Snow ball...

The Neo Baroque Szechenyi Furdo

Hungarian wet sports.. chess!


Splendid exterior...

Splendid interior decor so far removed from modern day british health centers!

A common question is will the pool be open all year round and the answer is definitely yes. Do people go swimming in winter? especially in an outdoor pool with no roof, do you not freeze to death at the sheer thought of scampering around in near freezing conditions?

Well it's always been the intention to open the pool all year, mainly because it's heated anyway, so therefore will be a pleasure to swim in during the cooler months. What better way to find out than go some where that's well established with outside pools, not to mention a bit nippy, and find out how the people get on. Budapest has over 100 natural thermal spa baths, with locals and visitors proud and frequent users. We organised a comprehensive weekend research trip to see some of the worlds greatest outdoor pools and were very impressed. It was very cold but that didn't seem to stop the luxury seeking locals. The water was great at a temperature close to human body temperature and on the clear, sunny day we visited the bath, the atmospheric steam really was spectacular and people in abundance too. The feeling of walking in the cold air followed by submerging into the warm water was amazing and truly revitalising, a feeling that we very much hope to replicate in the Lido. The 'restaurant' area was basic and paprika goulash probably not our first choice but a quick rub down from the big, scary Hungarian masseuses really does make you feel 100% relaxed and refreshed. After another wallow, a couple of lengths, it was time to leave and make notes on what we had learnt from a truly fantastic day experience in an outdoor winter pool.

Pool Preperation..

..was under going in full force recently. Before the new pool contractors can proceed with building the new pool certain preparation work had to be done. This involved 33 trucks full of cement being pumped into the existing pool to seal the floor, deep end and sides. The now re enforced pool is ready for the new pool to incorporate pumps, filters, lights and feature water shoots.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Big Building

Wash rooms and pool plant room on the ground floor and the kitchen on the first. The kitchen has a 3 ft over hanging balcony nearest the pool and will have windows set in so people can look in to get the impression of the working kitchen.

Treatment room 6 is currently the 'plans' room. Don't worry, the pink is just plaster board.

Natural light into all the treatment rooms is very important so many a velux has been Incorporated.

The old Victorian tea room which should see the balcony doors in soon. This is going to be a luxurious post treatment relaxation room with a balcony over looking the pool.

The major contractors are getting on with it despite the poor wet weather and cold conditions over Christmas, working twice as fast to keep warm, the basics of the plans becoming visible. The pool plant rooms, bathrooms, loading bay and restaurant kitchen are all taking shape in the NE corner of the site. This has been done on the dryer days and the spa building when its wet. In the spa build the treatment rooms are up and first fixed with plumbing and electrics. Wall cavities housing heat pump converters are all up.

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